In Hollywood, one of the most talked-about friendships for decades is that of the retired American actress Debra Paget and the singer, Elvis Presley who was overly obsessed with her. From all accounts, the pair were romantically attached but never got married as her parents disapproved.
While Paget would later get married and divorce thrice, the question that has remained unanswered for many years is – would anything have changed if they were ever married?
Debra Paget and Elvis Presley First Met on a Live TV Show
The Colorado-born actress Debra Paget first met with the Tennessee singer Elvis Presley sometime in 1956. Their paths crossed at the Milton Berle Show and they were introduced by Berle. The pair didn’t get along at first and Paget later revealed that she considered him some sort of moron. However, they got close following their second meeting a few months later at the movie set “Love Me Tender”.
At the time they met, the then 22-year-old actress Paget was already established in the acting industry and held credit for 19 films. She had also starred with several renowned actors including Carlton Heston, and Yul Brynner. On the other hand, the 21-year-old Elvis pursued a career in the music industry and was known as the king of rock.
They were both young and talented and had a lot in common. Paget said he was a kind and caring friend who also charmed her parents after meeting him.
Elvis Proposed to Paget but her Parents Disapproved
Following Paget and Elvis’ friendship, the singer soon developed emotions towards her and considered her the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He became overly obsessed with her and even followed her everywhere while on set. She described him as very sweet and simple but not the type of man she normally dated. Although she didn’t feel the same way towards him she admitted that she cared about him and they shared a greater part of their free time.
After the movie ended, Elvis proposed to Paget in 1997 but her parents objected to them getting married. She took to their opinion and didn’t accept his proposal.
According to her, Elvis was more family-oriented than romantic which made her parents consider him a member of the Paget clan. She also hinted in the 1997 interview, that she was very shy, very quiet, and emotionally immature for her age.
Aside from her family’s disapproval, Paget was in a relationship at the time with the billionaire industrialist and film producer Howard Hughes. They had been together for two years and hoped to get hitched but that also did not happen.
Paget’s Three Marriages Ended in Divorce
Even though Paget and Elvis never tied the knot they both found love with other people. The actress was first married to the singer David Street whom she has known since 1945. Their romance only started three days before getting married in a private ceremony in 1958. Unfortunately, their marriage crashed in the 4th month.
Paget later started a relationship with the director Budd Boetticher in the late 1950s and they secretly exchanged vows on March 27, 1969, at the southern border town of Tijuana, Mexico. Sadly, their marriage only lasted for 22 days.
Regardless, she found love again and tied the knot with the American-Chinese oil executive Ling Chieh (Louis) Kung in 1962 which marked her third marriage. Her husband’s influence as the son of HH Sung, the richest man in early 20th-Century China made her retire from acting in 1964, two years into their marriage.
They remained married for almost two decades which saw the birth of their son Gregory Teh-chi Kung before getting divorced in 1980 and Paget has never remarried since then.
On the other hand, Elvis married his first and only wife Priscilla Presley in 1959. The pair met in Germany when he was serving in the military she was 14 while he was 24 years old. They got married when she turned 21 and were married for 6 years before parting ways in 1965. He later got involved with the likes of Natalie Wood, Anita Wood, Linda Thompson, and Ginger Alden who was him when he passed away on August 16, 1977, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 47.
Paget remained Unmarried and Later Became a Born-Again Christian
A decade after Paget divorced her third husband, she became a born-again Christian in the early 1990s. She hinted that her faith gave her strength and guidance in her life.
The “Love Me Tender” actress later hosted her show “An Interlude with Debra Paget” on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), and later got involved in Praise the Lord.
Currently, she upholds a very private life and occasionally appears on TBN as a guest.